The search for the sources of life continues beyond the borders of the Earth

    Delving into the World Wide Web, I found very interesting material.

    To answer this question, “Is there life on Mars?” Scientists are investigating the microstructure of Martian meteorites. In these meteorites, under an electron microscope, bodies are found surprisingly similar in shape to fossil terrestrial bacteria.

    The leading researcher of the Geological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Sergeev tells about what the formations found in meteorites are:

    - These findings in meteorites, depending on the mood of the researchers, are trying to pass off as either biogens or biogenic structures. There are optimists, and there are pessimists. These meteorites have been explored for quite some time. In 1960-1970, one of the famous Precambrian researchers Bartolomei Unagi specially studied meteorites collected by the NASA program, but then his studies yielded a negative result: he did not find anything alive, although there are structures that look like bacteria.

    But outwardly similar to the remains of bacteria - spherical or linear in shape - can also be inorganic formations. The last meteorite boom was associated with the discovery in Antarctica of a meteorite arriving from Mars. If a sufficiently powerful meteorite strikes the surface of Mars, then since the atmosphere on the planet is very rarefied, the fragments may well reach second cosmic velocity, fly away from the planet and begin to wander around the solar system. And ultimately, such a fragment can be pulled by the Earth and fall. There are already quite a lot of such lunar meteorites. But there are meteorites that are considered Martian. One of such meteorites was found in 1984 in Antarctica in rocks whose age is estimated at four and a half billion years. Fragments of some carbon substance were found in the crack of this meteorite, and the smallest remains that were interpreted as bacteria were found. They were discovered in 1996. This caused a boom and many questions: including, can microorganisms be so small when they hit a meteorite crack — on Mars or already on Earth.

    The fact is that the carbon residues that were found in the Antarctic meteorite have anomalously small sizes, on the order of nanometers. The debate about whether living organisms can have such dimensions is still incomplete.

    The smallest bacteria more than 10 times - this is a submicron size, but it is much smaller, for example, cyanobacteria.

    - Is it possible to say that fossil bacteria were discovered on Antarctic meteorites?

    - In any case, this was interpreted by the findings of astrobiology from NASA. The question is this: if cyanobacteria really arose more than three billion years ago, could they have come to us from another planet? Objections arose earlier that no bacteria could reach the Earth - they would be cooked when entering the atmosphere. But now it is shown that due to evaporation and reduced pressure, the water begins to boil not at 100, but at 60 degrees. That is, fundamentally the surface of the Earth could be reached by ice meteorites with the remnants of life. This was demonstrated by the staff of the Institute of Microbiology - Orleans and his colleagues. That is, there are no theoretical objections to the possibility of life entering Earth.

    - Could life be brought to Earth from other planets?

    - For a person who deals with Precambrian paleontology, the oldest microorganisms, it is extremely interesting to see what could be in meteorites or in the nearest planets of the solar system, including on Mars. But while there is no fundamental breakthrough. Any find of life outside the Earth can give a big leap for development and science, and even new technologies, including military ones.

    I am sure that if it were possible to create an artificial life, then the research would immediately be classified. Because it gives the country or the scientists who created it, huge advantages in obtaining new biological weapons.

    - It can be assumed that the forms of life brought to Earth from outer space were not even cyanobacteria, but some earlier forms.

    - 4 - 4 and a half billion years ago, Mars is very reminiscent of the Earth. It was a planet with a dense atmosphere, where volcanoes actively worked, rivers flowed on the surface, and then the planet died, the atmosphere left, the rivers dried up. Mars became what it is about three and a half billion years ago. Harvard University professor Nulan is just keen on this. When he last visited us in 2005, he spoke in great detail about the Martian program. And showed what the rovers found. Strictly speaking, they have not found almost anything yet. They found the oldest sequence of sedimentary rocks outside the Earth, caused by the wind three and a half billion years ago.

    “Is there any hope that life forms have survived somewhere on Mars?” Maybe deep down?

    - It may well be. We now know that for the life of organisms such wonderful conditions as on Earth are absolutely optional. They can live in very harsh conditions with the elementary presence of water. They can live well under the surface of Mars, even in modern conditions. Not only on Mars, but also on the moons of Jupiter, life can exist. It was the origin of life that could have occurred not on terrestrial planets, but on, say, Jupiter’s satellite Europe, where there are volcanoes, there is water, and this satellite may be promising for the search for modern extraterrestrial life, but it may be fossil if it is assumed that in ancient times the sun stronger. In addition, Europe has an atmosphere. But even the atmosphere is not necessary for the existence of life. But life on Venus is unlikely, because at this temperature everything should be cooked. But on the moons of Jupiter and on Marsk - it is quite possible. Even the giants Jupiter and Saturn cannot be ruled out - and there may be primitive bacterial forms.

    Now the core of the Martian breed would be very helpful for research. For me, as a Precambrian paleontologist working to a large extent with cyanobacteria, it would be insanely interesting to get such a sample from Mars, even if it gave a negative answer.

    - Space research can shed light on the origin of life on Earth?

    - According to some estimates, life appeared on Earth about four and a half billion years ago. The oldest deposits on the surface of the Earth in Greenland are 3.8 billion years old. At one time, the remains of microorganisms were described there, including quite highly organized ones. Then it turned out that these deposits are so strongly metamorphosed that nothing can remain there. Unfortunately, the problem of the origin of life on earth is not solved by paleontological methods.

    Link to the source:

    Also popular now: